Well, it is not so easy in the real world. I tried to find the best doctor for a specific type of cancer. It took me less than 2 minutes to find that he was based in France and some communication details. Should I call him for an arrangement and speak English?Can he speak English?He can obviously not speak Greek. If he speaks English will I understand everything correctly?If I send him an English speaking patient who will be operated and will stay in a French Hospital for 10 days, will he be able to communicate and be informed sufficiently?What if he can neither speak English, nor french?He probably needs a medical interpreter. When will the interpreter have to go to the hospital, and for how long?Will the hospital arrange this for you or not?
It is easy to understand things get complicated when you do not speak the language of the country you visit.
I was really curious about the solution of this problem. I attended a 2 weeks training programme for community interpreters and they played this video to show us how medical interpreting is...(Or maybe, how it should be)
Theese are used to help identify the language the patient speaks, and make it easier for him to find the appropriate interpreter.
Welcome cards, printed in many different languages, instructing patients to bring the card to the information desk if they need assistance; on the reverse side are instructions in English for how to contact interpreter services. Wallet-sized cards with the patient’s primary language written in English, as well as instructions on how to reach an interpreter for that language. Patients are able to provide this card at subsequent visits to specify their need for language assistance. Staff badges in different languages with “I speak __ ! May I help you?” in the appropriate language; each badge is color-coded for low literacy patients. (For example, Spanish is always in purple, while Vietnamese is always in green.) Patients can then readily identify bilingual employees for assistance if they are lost or need directions. Language identification charts can help literate LEP patients with requesting interpreter services. One such chart is organized into a “patient-visitor” column which lists the question “Do you speak __ ?” in various languages, with a matching column indicating the name of the language in English. Statistical demographic data can be used to determine which languages to include.
Most European hospitals are not even 10% ready to offer quality health services to foreign patient due to the communicating language gap. There are dozens of organizations researching cross border care in Europe, hundrends of scientific articles, and almost nothing about medical interpreting, especially in NHS hospitals which are not so iternationaly oriented.
The last video is food for thought
Could you ever imagine this happening in your hospital? And how much time would it take to offer your services in this language. ASL interpreters are for Deaf people but telephonic interpreting can not be used for distance interpreting, unless you have a monitor on the phone, and there is a camera at the other side of the line.